After our terrific stay in BBRSP we journeyed east on FM 170 (farm to market) alternatively known as Farm Road 170. The local folks just call it the River Road. It is also a segment of the Texas Mountain Trail. Regardless of what name you reference it by it is an absolutely stunning drive. The road is an undulating strip of asphalt winding its way between the mountains of BBRSP on one side and the Rio Grande and Sierra Madre Oriental Mountains on the other.
Big Bend National Park is an expansive park with remarkable diversity in regard to the terrain and species of wildlife and flora. While it is wild and rugged it is far more accessible than Big Bend Ranch State Park. There are visitor centers, a gas station, drinking water, paved scenic drives and more people. The one thing that both parks have in common is the spectacular scenery.
We would rate this park as a “must visit” national park. A couple things to keep in mind – this is not a summer park due to the South Texas location and it is a spring break destination for many Texas families (making mid-March the busiest time).
Re-assessing our itinerary based on developments with Covid-19.
With repairs to the Beast completed we set out to Yosemite National Park for our first ever visit. We had perfect weather during our three day visit to the park. We did have to contend with smoke from the Briceburg Fire settling in the Yosemite Valley on our first day.
Yosemite is located in the Western Sierra Nevada and features a number of dramatic, well known granite formations. Many of these formations are in Yosemite Valley and should be seen or experienced in some fashion – hiking, climbing or driving. We particularly enjoyed the hikes accessed from Glacier Point Road which provide many spectacular views.
We also recommend visiting other areas of the park outside of the valley. The park is almost 1200 squaremiles in size – there are many opportunites to see and experience the park outside of Yosemite Valley, without the traffic and crowds.
Yosemite NP is a must see if you are a national park fan. We camped outside the park in the Stanislaus NF. If you want to to stay in one of the park campgrounds or lodges you will need to reserve many months in advance. Regardless of where you stay, driving will be required to access the various areas of the park. Also, go early as trailhead parking is very limited.
Working our way through northern Nevada to get to the Alvord Desert and Steens Mountain Wilderness in Oregon.
We are officially back on the road! Day one consisted of making our way through Ogden (Wasatch Coffee Roasters) and then on to City of Rocks National Reserve (CORNR) Our backroad route took us through Naf, ID. It is officially a ghost town but still boasts one human resident and a dog.
The CORNR is a mecca for climbers and scramblers with its many and varied rock formations. We stayed for three days to take advantage of the ample scrambling and scenic hiking opportunities.
The area that is now CORNR was a major stopping point for emigrants heading to California between the 1840 and 1870. We were able to hike along portions of the route and see the dated signatures of many of the emigrants – applied with axle grease used for the wagons.
There are terrific campsites located around the CORNR which provide tremendous views of the rock formations and the dark night sky. (002.003.004)